The Deputy Attorney General who penned the memorandum detailing James Comey’s unconventional actions as FBI Director reportedly threatened to resign after the Trump administration suggested he was the brains behind the firing, reported the Washington Post.
Rod Rosenstein, according to anonymous White House sources, believed he was portrayed as the primary motivator behind the decision to fire Comey; however, the Deputy Attorney General was actually asked to pen the memo after the president decided to terminate Comey, reported HuffPost.
In Rosenstein’s memo — which Trump cited as the reasoning behind his decision — Comey’s performance into the probe of Hillary Clinton’s emails was said to have caused “substantial damage” to the Bureau’s reputation.
“As a result, the FBI is unlikely to regain public and congressional trust until it has a Director who understands the gravity of the mistakes and pledges never to repeat them,” Rosenstein wrote in the memo.
In the moments after Comey’s firing, White House spokespeople and officials also pointed to Rosenstein’s memo in defense of the decision.
Deputy White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Comey committed “atrocities” when handling the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email serve during her tenure as Secretary of State.
During an interview with CNN, Vice President Mike Pence repeatedly stated Trump’s decision was derived from Rosenstein’s recommendation.
"The president made the right decision at the right time,” Pence said. “The simple fact is Director Comey had lost the support of the American people.”
Justice Department officials at first refused to comment; however, according to CNN’s Laura Jarrett, Rosentstein did not threaten to quit.
“DOJ on the record: Rosenstein did not threaten to resign,” Jarrett tweeted.